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uncivilized condition in which the people of Abba Thulle were at the period of the shipwreck. Since that date our knowledge of the several islands which owned his dominion has not been materially enlarged, though their number, we are assured, amounts to twenty-eight, of which the largest is called Babeltoup, and is about sixty miles in length. There are no rivers in any of the Pelew group, the inhabitants being supplied with water from brooks and ponds. In 1783, there were no quadrupeds save rats; but now there are cattle, goats, and hogs, the benefaction of our navigators. The sheep that were carried thither have all been killed by the inhabitants for some reason which has not yet been ascertained ; but the other animals, especially those of the bovine species, have increased abundantly, and such vessels as take the outer passage to Canton stop at these islands for provisions. The principal objects of cultivation, as in the windward stations, are yams, bananas, cocoa-nut trees, sugar-cane, and turmeric. In the forests are found ebony, and timber of so great a size that a single tree is frequently converted by the inhabitants into a canoe capable of holding thirty men. The natives are clearly of Malay extraction; they wear no clothes; their food is very simple; and their drink is limited to water and the juice of certain fruits.*
The Ladrones, which were discovered by Magellan on the 6th March 1521, received their name from the pilfering habits of the people, who, like their brethren of all shades of colour in the Pacific Ocean, were found to have very indistinct notions of property. At a later period they were called the Marian Islands, in honour of Mary Ann of Austria, the queen of Philip IV. of Spain, who issued orders for their settlement. Their number has been estimated at twenty ; and they are situated in lat. 13° and 21° N., and between long. 144o and 145° 30' E. Having a plutonic origin, their surface is extremely irregular, and in many places rises into high mountains; but the soil, wherever it is capable of cultivation, is pronounced to be uncommonly fertile. Almost every kind of tropical production grows with great luxuriance, including cotton, rice, indigo, sugar, cocoa, tobacco, and plantains. For these, as well as for cattle, mules, horses, and asses, they are indebted to the Spaniards. Guam, or St John, and Tinian, or St Joseph, are perhaps the best known to Europeans. It was at the latter that Commodore Anson, in his voyage round the world, landed for refreshment to his crew who had already suffered greatly from disease. The author of the narrative which bears the name of that able navigator represents the island as a terrestrial paradise, abounding in every thing necessary to the subsistence and happiness of man; and being besides exceedingly delightful to the eye, diversified by a happy intermixture of valleys and gentle hills, the scenery was attended with a beneficial effect on the imagination of the patients. But the same island, when afterwards visited by Byron, was found to have become an uninhabitable wilderness, overgrown with impenetrable thickets. This melancholy change was owing to the oppressive policy of the conquerors, who compelled the natives to remove to another island : after their departure the country fell back into the state of nature, and is now a savage waste.
* Keate's Account of the Pelew Islands; and Delano's Narrative of Voyages and Travels. We ought to mention that this cluster, with others of the Caroline range, was discovered by Villalobos in 1543; but of his proceedings hardly any record is preserved.
The people are represented as being tall, robust, and very active ; and previously to the arrival of the Europeans, they thought themselves the only inhabitants of the world. They are naturally acute, lively, and ingenious; and the females are described as peculiarly cheerful in their disposition, and graceful in their deportment. Their mechanical talents were most conspicuous in the invention of that singular vessel called by our seamen the flying prow, which has been admired by all, and chiefly by those whose skill in naval architecture qualified them to form the most accurate judgment. With a brisk wind it sails at the rate of twenty miles an hour. Before the invasion of the Spaniards, they appear not to have been subjected to any regular form of government; every man assuming the privilege of vindicating his own rights, and avenging his own quarrels. Hence hostilities frequently broke out among the inhabitants of different districts; but it is said their battles were not often sanguinary, usually terminating with the slaughter of the leading combatants. The population of Guam, however, has almost entirely disappeared. In the middle of the seventeenth century they were estimated at a hundred and fifty thousand, whereas, according to the latest accounts, not more than one family of the aboriginal race remained. Kotzebue relates, that when the subjects of Philip took possession of the Marians, most of the inhabitants fled to the Caroline group.
6 Could I have transported myself,” says he, “ back to the time when Magellan discovered these islands, the Rurick would long since have been surrounded by many canoes with happy islanders. This was not the case now; the introduction of the christian religion has not diffused here its benign blessings, for since that time the whole race of the natives has been extirpated. We looked in vain for a canoe, or a man on the shore ; and it almost seemed as if we were off an uninhabited island. The sight of this lovely country deeply affected me. Formerly these fertile valleys were the abode of a nation who passed their days in tranquil happiness; now, only the beautiful palm-trees remained to overshadow their graves: adeath-like silence every where prevailed.”*
* Voyage of Discovery into the South Sea and Behring's Straits, by Otto Von Kotzebue, vol. ii. p. 231. In this work he calls the principal island Guahon, and its capital Aguna ; but in his “ New Voyage,” he writes it Agadna. By the Spaniards the one is spelled Guajam, and the other Agana. The Russian commander, whose descriptive powers have been more admired than his discretion, remarks, that the “ scenery was very romantic, and seemed a paradise to ug after so long a voyage; and at the same time, the air, with its odoriferous perfumes, had such a beneficial influence on us, that we all felt ourselves
The same navigator again visited the Ladrones in 1824, when he found that the happiness of the people was still farther diminished by the despotism or ignorance of a bad ruler, who was even accused of having put several English and American sailors to an unjust death. The Spanish government ordered his recall, and Medenilla, whose wise measures had given rise to unwonted prosperity, was again charged with the administration of that remote settlement.
The religion of the natives, when the islands were first discovered, was a destructive superstition, consisting, so far as principle was concerned, of the belief in a malignant demon, whom they were taught by their priests to appease through the medium of sacrifices the most painful and revolting. But that worship gave way under the influence of the conquerors, who conferred upon them the knowledge of the true faith, which, when obscured by certain rites, however well calculated to occupy the attention of the rude mind, is very apt to degenerate into a modified idolatry. Images of the Virgin and
strengthened. The village of Massu consists of about fifteen houses, which are built in a straight line, and the spaces between them filled up with gardens. The structure is different from any thing we saw on our voyage. The house, which is from eight to ten feet square, rests on four pillars, raised five feet above the ground; the floors and walls are made of bamboo canes, which are placed so far apart from each other, that you can put your hand between them, which gives the whole house the appearance of a cage, where you may ee every thing passing in the inside without entering. The construction is well adapted to the climate ; the wind passes through the house, and cools and purifies the air ; the roof, thatched with rushes, protects it against the rain, and the pillars against the vermin but the appearance is extremely ludicrous, particularly if the family is in it. A large stone cross before the village, and a small one which they wear round the neck, showed the christian faith."-Vol. ii. p. 237.
Their canoes or proas, mentioned in the text, are convex on one side, and straight on the other. By joining two boats of the same size with a board, several islanders of the great Otdia have formed vessels which Sir Sidney Smith thought worthy of being introduced into the navies of Europe.-See Annual Register, 1805. Notice of the Experiments of Sir Sidney Smith, by Mr Boswell.
Child replaced, very generally in the Philippines and Ladrones, the hideous figures which the aboriginal savages had hewn out for themselves as representatives of those powerful spirits whose wrath they endeavoured to turn away, or whose favour they had resolved to purchase. In the days of Spanish adventure in the South Sea, clergymen accompanied every discovery ship, with the view of disseminating the kindly seeds of the christian religion ; and there can be no doubt that wherever their exertions were directed to a proper field, they must have softened the temper of the natives, withdrawn them from the horrid ceremonies of their primeval superstition, and introduced among their fierce warriors the love of peace. But whatever may have been the fruits actually produced, the motives which influenced the missionaries were worthy of all praise ; and, while we may regret that some attempt was not made to convey the knowledge of letters and the useful arts to their ignorant catechumens, we do not less highly appreciate the amount of the sacrifices they themselves consented to make, and the extreme sufferings which in many cases they were compelled to endure.
Guam is now the only island inhabited, and the population, according to the latest accounts, amounted to about five thousand five hundred, consisting chiefly of settlers from Mexico and the Philippines. They are all Christians, and speak the Spanish language, but acknowledge no relationship to the original tribes whom they have displaced, though not a few, it is surmised, inherit their blood through the line of the female parent.